Souvlaki is the term used to describe “little skewers” of meat that are marinated in a wonderful red wine marinade and then grilled. Souvlakia are traditionally wrapped in flatbread or pita and then topped with a variety of condiments - lettuce, tomato, onion, and of course, the famed tzatziki sauce. They are also quite delicious without the pita and trimmings. You will need to plan ahead and allow at least 2 – 3 hours for the meat to really absorb the flavors.
- 3 sweet pointed peppers
- 8 flatbreads, to serve
- 4 sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked
- 1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped (stalks and all)
- red wine vinegar
- Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, to serve
- For the kebabs
- 800 g higher-welfare leg of pork, shin if you can get it, cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- juice of 1 lemon
- 100 ml good-quality olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
- glass red wine
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch sea salt
- For the tzatziki
- ½ large cucumber
- 200 ml fat-free natural yoghurt
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled
- 1 heaped teaspoon dried mint
- 1½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
- If using wooden skewers, cut 8 to fit your griddle pan and soak them in a tray of water to stop them burning.
- Put all your kebab ingredients into a bowl and use your clean hands to mix everything together really well.
- Cover with clingfilm, then pop into the fridge for a couple of hours or longer if you want the flavours to get a bit more intense.
- Meanwhile, blacken the peppers directly over the flame of your hob, in a hot dry griddle pan or under a hot grill. Turn them every so often and when they look almost ruined, pop them into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and put to one side to steam for 5 minutes or so – this will help their skins to come off.
- Make your tzatziki by coarsely grating the cucumber into a sieve set up over a bowl.
- Add a few good pinches of salt, then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as you can.
- Pour the water away, then tip the cucumber into the empty bowl and add the yoghurt. Pound the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of salt until you have a paste, and spoon that into the bowl with the cucumber. Add the dried mint and red wine vinegar and mix really well. Have a taste to make sure you've got the balance right, then put aside.
- Preheat a griddle pan or grill on a high heat.
- Thread the skewers through the marinated pork pieces, leaving little spaces between them so that the heat cooks everything evenly.
- Cook the kebabs on the screaming hot griddle or grill for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally until done on all sides. Warm your flatbreads in the oven or in a hot dry pan while your kebabs are cooking.
- Just before your kebabs are ready, peel and deseed your blackened peppers, then tear them into strips and put them into a bowl.
- Roll up your mint leaves, finely slice them and add to the bowl along with the dill.
- Add a few splashes of red wine vinegar, a pinch or two of salt and pepper and a lug of extra virgin olive oil.
- Toss and mix together, then have a taste to check the balance of flavours.
- Cut your lemon into wedges.
- Put a dollop of tzatziki and the meat from one skewer on each warmed flatbread. Top with some of your pepper mixture, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Life doesn't get much better.